It’s pretty obvious really. You play a number of games, showing that you can play well, in fits and starts. But you never really catch fire and let in sloppy goals whilst not being able to really test a goalkeeper. You have had a couple of unlucky breaks, but no more and no less than clubs get during a game.
So, naturally, the best thing to do is tell your fans that you are currently playing to a high standard, despite finding yourself in fifteenth position in the second division. It’s almost as if you are deluding yourself.
And yet, in the run up to the game at Hillsborough tomorrow, that is exactly what Owen Coyle has said. That against both Watford and Birmingham, the team played to a high standard. Whilst this may be true for some of the time, I think anyone who saw the games would say that the standard set against Watford was done so due to the opposition being poor in the first half. As for Birmingham, as I said, you look at results at the end of the season, and not performances. The game tomorrow is another must win in a season that is already turning into one of must wins every week.
As for Wednesday, they started off the season well, but three consecutive defeats have seen them fall below us on goal difference.
Sheffield Wednesday Team News:
According to the BBC, Anthony Gardner won’t be rushed back into action after a hamstring injury and Joe Mattock will be sitting out the game after being sent off during Wendesday’s midweek defeat to Huddersfield.
Player to watch: Jermaine Johnson
You’ll remember Jermaine from his time at Bolton back when games were shown in black and white and he dazzled us with his amazing ball skills and will to win.
Anyway, he has come on leaps and bounds since then, reaching the heights of Oldham and Bradford before settling in Sheffield in early 2007 and he has since made nearly two hundred appearances for the club. He also once said that Wednesday were a better club than Bolton, but did say it when Megson was in charge, so we’ll take that with a pinch of salt.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Jay Spearing’s injury may keep him out of tomorrow’s game but Keith Andrews is willing to play through the pain to replace him. I don’t know whether he means his pain or our pain. This may all be moot with Stephen Warnock joining on a three month loan, so he may be available to play in his natural role. Central midfield, obviously.
Player to watch: Chris Eagles
Keeps on scoring and while he is doing that he is deflecting criticism from a forward line who aren’t. Seems to have found his natural level, which is too good for The Championship and not good enough for the Premier League. Which is good for us this season, I suppose.
Match Facts & Stats
Ninety eight times have Bolton and Wednesday played each other in the league, with the Yorkshire club holding a 43-34 advantage overall and a 31-8 lead in Sheffield since the first game between the clubs at Olive Grove in 1892. Wednesday won that game 1-0.
Bolton’s last game at Hillsborough was in the promotion winning season of 2001, Michael Ricketts (who he?), Bibi Gardner and Ian Marshall scoring in a 3-0 victory. In fact, Wednesday haven’t beaten Bolton since they hammered us 5-0 in 1997. Granted, that was only four games ago, but it’s still a long time.
Bolton’s leading scorer in the fixture is Sir Nat with eight. In the second tier, Roger Hunt, John Byrom, John Ritson and Tony Henry all have two.
Keith Stroud. Hang on a minute. I recognise that name. Didn’t he use to be a Premier League referee. Looks, he’s even got a Wikipedia page, so it must be true. Blimey.
He hasn’t actually officiated a top flight game since 2008, so he’s probably as bad as the rest of the. The last Bolton league game he took charge of was in August 2008, the goalless draw at home to West Brom, when he booked some people called McCann and Nolan. No, me either.
Well, I got it right on last weekend and almost got it right on Tuesday (right result, wrong way round). So, I’ll stick to 2-1 to Bolton again. For all our sakes.
Palace come to T’Reebok for another must win game, six pointer, next Saturday.